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Otto Goetzke * 1890
Kalischerstraße 2 (Harburg, Harburg)
IM WIDERSTAND / KPD
ZUCHTHAUS CELLE 1944
Otto Goetzke, born on 28 Nov. 1890 in Anklam, arrested on 23 Oct. 1942, "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) in the KoLaFu (Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp), from 23 Mar. 1943 in the Holstenglacis prison, from 1 Apr. 1944 in the Celle penitentiary/ Wesendorf subcamp, on 10 Apr. 1945 transported with destination Dreibergen, missing
Harburg District, Harburg, Kalischerstrasse 2 (formerly Feldstrasse 2)
Otto Goetzke was born on 28 Nov. 1890 in Anklam, where he attended school and later completed an apprenticeship as a baker. In 1912, he had to complete his military service. The end of his service coincided with the beginning of the First World War, in which he participated as a soldier from 1914 to 1918. After the war, he worked in East Prussia as a self-employed baker. He was married to Auguste Meik, a native of East Prussia. The Goetzke couple had four children.
In 1923, the family moved to Harburg. By then, Otto Goetzke no longer worked in his trained profession, but as an assistant fitter with the Reich Railway Corporation and, from 1925 onward, at the Noblee and Thörl Company.
He belonged to the German Communist Party (KPD), the "Revolutionary Union Opposition” ("Revolutionäre Gewerkschafts-Opposition” – RGO), and the "Red Aid” ("Rote Hilfe”). Because of his political views, he was dismissed from Noblee and Thörl on 20 Dec. 1933. He then worked as a casual laborer at various Harburg companies, including August Prien and Heitmann Bau, a construction company, and from May 1938 as a semi-skilled fitter at Blohm and Voss.
On 23 Oct. 1942, Otto Goetzke was taken into so-called protective custody (Schutzhaft) because "he was strongly suspected of engaging in treasonous activities” and committed to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. He remained in Gestapo custody until 23 Mar. 1943, when he was transferred to the Holstenglacis prison. At the end of July 1943 – following the heavy bombing raids on Hamburg – some prisoners were ‘furloughed’ from custody (‘air raid leave’), among them Otto Goetzke. He sought and found work at Tempo-Werke in Harburg.
On 9 Sept. 1943, he was arrested again and sent back to the Holstenglacis prison. On 25 Feb. 1944, the public prosecutor’s office at the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) brought charges against Otto Goetzke and five co-defendants: The charge was "preparation to high treason in combination with aiding the enemy.” The indictment stated, "former Communists attempted to reestablish a Communist organization in Hamburg ... efforts were made to set up Communist company cells in large Hamburg enterprises. The aim of the organization was to bring about a Soviet dictatorship in Germany.” The defendants were charged with "having obeyed the summons to cooperate in building up the Communist organization.”
On 7 Mar. 1944, the Criminal Senate (Strafsenat) of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court in Hamburg sentenced Otto Goetzke to three years and six months in the penitentiary and three years’ loss of civic rights, with 15 months of pretrial detention calculated toward the sentence. On 1 Apr. 1944, he was sent to the Celle penitentiary/ subcamp at Wesendorf, a camp for prisoners used in the construction of the Wesendorf air base.
As U.S. troops approached the city of Celle, the Celle penitentiary and satellite camp were evacuated on 10 Apr. 1945, and the prisoners were herded toward the Dreibergen/Bützow penitentiary. It was a death march. Whether and how many prisoners arrived there is not known. In the Goetzke file, a note indicates, "From Celle on transport to Dreibergen. Missing since then. Investigations so far without success.”
Otto Goetzke was declared dead on 12 May 1950.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2021
© Margrit und Helmut Rüth
Quellen: StaH 351-111_11666, 351-111_11665, 351-111_11667, 351-111_11664, 351-11_11720; Adressbuch Harburg-Wilhelmsburg 1937; Harburger Opfer des Nationalsozialismus S. 5 (Bezirksamt Harburg Hrsg.); "die anderen". Widerstand und Verfolgung in Harburg und Wilhelmsburg. Zeugnisse und Berichte 1933-1945, (Brügmann, Dreibrodt, Meyer, Nehring), Hamburg 1980 (8. Aufl.), S. 85, 178, 192, 213.